Re: [stella] video memory

Subject: Re: [stella] video memory
From: Nick S Bensema <nickb@xxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Thu, 11 Sep 1997 23:47:25 -0700 (MST)
>The 2600 is a scanline based system (maybe the only one).  It's memory
>requirements for the individual scanlines themselves are MINISCULE, and it
>requires very modest resources to create simple displays with simple
>reflected playfields, but the resources it can require over the course of
>a whole screen redraw can be HUGE if you want to make a decent looking
>display like Solaris where the screen is filled with nothing but reused
>single-line-res sprites with color changes on every scanline with many
>frames of animation/scaling.  You can't get something for nothing...

well, many of the 8-bit computers can operate by scanline, though not
as closely as the 2600.  The Atari 8-bit and 5200 use the ANTIC which
also has a WSYNC register; and both these machines along with the
Commodore 64 can re-use sprites using some sort of scanning loop like
the 2600 uses, though admittedly neither machine has as much to take
care of.

You'll be happy to know that the Commodore 64's clock speed is in fact
SLOWER than the VCS's.  That's something at least.  

Though if you love flexibility in programming graphics, you'll love 
programming on ANTIC-driven machines.  The ANTIC is sort of a graphics
CPU in that it processes a display list that, for the most part, replaces
the kernels we've been doing here.  If one needs the CPU's help, i.e. to
re-use sprites or do color bars, oen can either insert interrupts in the
display list or go the old 2600 route of scanning down the screen with
WSYNCs.  And both machines use the 6502 so you're already halfway there.
Oh, and the same palette.  And the players are 8-bit-wide mono, just like
you're used to.  Except there are four of them.

And the Atari 8-bit computers have keyboards, so they're a lot easier to
program, wouldn't you agree?

Though not as challenging or rewarding, I guess....but I grew up with those
machines.  I almost made a demo for it, but some mysterious bug afflicted it
and I can't fix it.  ehhhh.

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